Somalia: Groups Explore Ways to Increase Women's Participation in Politics

Civil society and human rights activists, legal experts, politicians and youth representatives met in Mogadishu on Sunday to discuss ways to increase and strengthen women's participation in Somalia's politics.

The one-day symposium held in Mogadishu with support from the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) Political Affairs Unit, heard of proposals and initiatives meant to promote women's political participation.

These included access to education and training opportunities for girls and young women, strengthening of linkages between politics and civil society and the promotion of women who are in political leadership and other positions.

Muna Hassan Mohamed, AMISOM's Political Officer, said the mission would continue to support such forums and efforts aimed at empowering and boosting women's political representation in Somalia.

"The African Union commits to advance the participation of youth, civil society and women in politics," said Muna

Safiya Mohamed, a gender expert and academic, noted that while women are capable leaders, clan-based political representation remains a barrier to women's participation and leadership.

"Almost everyone agrees that women-led institutions in our country are very productive, efficiently-run and do contribute to the socio-economic transformation of the country," said Safiya.

Abdikadir Farah, the Head of Social Affairs in the Office of the President of Somalia, called for mainstreaming politics through multipartyism, which would in turn increase women representation in elective politics.

"If we have a multiplicity of political parties, Somali women will have increased chances for political participation," Farah said.

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